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NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Capitals vs. Flyers (January 11)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Capitals vs. Flyers (January 11) article feature image
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Rob Marczynski/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nicolas Deslauriers and Samuel Ersson

  • The Washington Capitals are heavy favorites on the road Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Washington has been the stronger team all season, but Philadelphia is riding high right now behind red-hot rookie netminder Samuel Ersson.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Capitals vs. Flyers Odds

Capitals Odds -184
Flyers Odds +152
Over/Under 6 (-110/-110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBCSP
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two teams coming off shutout victories will clash at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday, when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals.

Winners of five of their last six games, John Tortorella’s Flyers have been riding the hot hand of recently recalled rookie Samuel Ersson, who has not yet lost at the NHL level. The Capitals will look to change that, with Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie all now back in their forward corps.

Here’s the latest information on both teams, and your best bet for Wednesday’s game.

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Washington Capitals

Fighting long odds with a depleted lineup, the Capitals were able to hold serve while they waited for Backstrom and Wilson to recover from offseason surgeries. Heading into Tuesday’s games, Washington sits third in the Metropolitan Division.

The Caps have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL in recent weeks, with a record of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. They welcomed Backstrom and Wilson back into the lineup on Sunday with a 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Backstrom has slotted back into his usual spot at center on a line with Alex Ovechkin, who’s up to 29 goals for the year but has gone cold in the last two games. Wilson slips into the right-wing spot on the second line, playing with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dylan Strome.

And while Ovechkin’s scoring always gets the lion’s share of the attention, coach Peter Laviolette’s solid defensive structure is what makes the Capitals a tough out. At 5-on-5, Washington is in the middle of pack in expected goals share, at 51.08%. But they’re strong on the penalty kill and have gotten above-average goaltending from both Darcy Kuemper (7.6 goals saved above expected) and Charlie Lindgren (4.6 GSAE).

Though they’re now much healthier, Washington is still dealing with one very significant injury. Do-everything defenseman John Carlson is now on long-term injured reserve as he recovers after taking a puck to his head on Dec. 23.


Philadelphia Flyers

As for the home team, they’re going through their second hot stretch of the season. The Philadelphia Flyers opened the 2022-23 campaign with a 5-2-0 start, then went 6-15-7 before returning to the win column for five of their six games since the holiday break.

The primary catalyst for the turnaround is Ersson, an unheralded 23-year-old netminder who spent most of last season on the injured list. Called up just before Christmas, his debut against the Carolina Hurricanes was inauspicious. But after Carter Hart was injured when he came into the game in relief, Ersson was handed the opportunity to run with the ball.

And on Philadelphia’s western road trip after the holiday break, Ersson was outstanding. He gave up six goals in total in three games in California, all wins. Then, on Monday, he stopped 28 shots from this season’s highest-scoring team, the Buffalo Sabres, to earn his first shutout.

The Flyers have also been offering Ersson and Hart plenty of run support through this hot streak — averaging four goals a game. They’ve been led by Travis Konecny, who has 11 points in six games. Seven other players have chipped in five points or more.

Other than their long-term injuries to Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson and Ryan Ellis, the Flyers are basically healthy.


Capitals vs. Flyers Pick

The oddsmakers at FanDuel have no love for the home team in this matchup, even though both sides have been playing well early in 2023. Given the 13-point gap between the two teams in the Metropolitan Division standings, and the fact that the Flyers will be playing their third game in four nights on Wednesday, it’s not an unreasonable position.

The Capitals also hold the edge in the season series, with a 3-2 overtime victory in late November and a 4-1 win at Wells Fargo a couple of weeks later.

But the Flyers’ recent success may be more than smoke and mirrors. If you believe that Ersson is the real deal and that Tortorella’s team is starting to come together, that +152 moneyline offers good value — especially if the rookie gets another start on Wednesday night.

If you’re looking for a more conservative option, the Under is also appealing.

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